Prevent Your Marriage from Becoming a 'Junk Food Marriage'
- Wednesday, August 17, 2005
In this fast-food era of pizza delivery and speedy drive-through meals, it’s easy to forgo a sit-down "real silverware" dinner. We often sacrifice nutrition for convenience.
Unfortunately, some of us have transferred this fast-food lifestyle to our marriages.
Our bodies’ immune systems will start to falter if we’re living on junk-food diets. And if we only have drive-through intimacy, our marriages may lose their immunity to worldly "germs." We all need to eat balanced diets and contrary to what the advertisers tell us, super-sized fries are not healthy vegetables. However, I think we can agree that peas are nutritious, so here are three "P"s that will feed your marriage.
Plan: Just as planning is important to the success of a meal, it's also vital to a marriage. Don't let your married life just happen. Plan time to be together. Society tells us that we all need more "me" time, but it's "we" time that will strengthen our marriages. A weekly date night is a great idea but if it's not practical to get away for a whole evening, find a way to meet for lunch or go for a walk after dinner.
My husband, Ron, and I sometimes cuddle on the couch, after our son has gone to bed, and watch old home videos of our lives together. We make a special effort to be alone and enjoy each others company. Try to avoid talk about work, children, or problems when you’re on a date; concentrate on positive personal thoughts and goals.
Planning double dates with other Christian couples can also strengthen your marriage.
Choose a couple whose family is similar to yours—kids, interests, same general income—and you’ll probably find that you have a lot in common. Seeing other couples react to each other and solve their conflicts has helped us work out our own problems.
Praise: After you've had a scrumptious meal in a fine restaurant, it is customary to say, "My compliments to the chef." However, we often forget to send our compliments to the woman who washed the socks or to the man who mowed the lawn. Ron and I have been married for 26 years, and our relationship has hit some emotional speed bumps that forced us to slow down and appreciate each other.
Last year we were devastated as we witnessed our friends' Christian marriage disintegrate. They were critical and unappreciative as they lost sight of what they originally liked about each other. They forgot that "Love doesn't keep score of the sins of others . . . and . . . love always looks for the best ." (1 Corinthians 13)
Don't let your love be eroded by criticism. Instead, build each other up with praise. Ron has become my biggest fan and he often tells me that I'm smart, funny or pretty, and those compliments make me want to please him by being even smarter, funnier and prettier. Compliments are like magnets, if you want your mate to be "attracted" to you, be generous with sincere praise.
Pray: Just as a prayer should be offered before each meal, it must be integrated into our daily marriage routine. The spiritual life of a marriage is a great indicator of the health of the whole relationship. Praying together is an intimate activity, and in order for it to be effective, it must be genuine and heartfelt. Ron didn't grow up in a Christian family, so it was hard for him to understand how important prayer was to our relationship, but he has learned that his prayers nourish me, our marriage, and our relationship with God.
When Ron prays for me, I feel as if I’m covered by a velvety blanket of protection. Even though I still face problems and setbacks, his prayers shelter me from the sharpness of the pain. He is strengthened by my prayers too and we both agree that we’re less likely to fight if we’re consistently praying together.
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